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President Tours Asia; Where do Americans Draw Line on Good, Bad Guys?

Aired February 18, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. As the president tours Asia, are U.S.-Japanese ties being tested by the now-infamous words, "axis of evil"?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. Where do Americans draw the boundaries between the world's good guys and bad guys?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in Los Angeles with the buzz from a political premier for Democrats with White House dreams.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, I'll ask the Reverend Al Sharpton about his presidential pondering, and whether he made an impression in New Hampshire.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington , this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We begin with the trial Americans are talking about, and the questions many want answered. How does a mother turn into a killer of her own children? And what should be her punishment?

Andrea Yates' loyal and prosecutors offered their views in opening statements today. Defense attorney George Parnham says Yates suffered from postpartum depression, and did not appreciate what she did was wrong when she drowned her five children in a bathtub last year.

Prosecutor Joseph Owmby told the jury that Yates' state of mind was not his concern. He said his burden was simply to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she killed her children. Yates' husband, Russell, declined to speak to reporters as he entered the Houston courthouse today. If his wife is convicted of capital murder, prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty. If Yates is found not guilty by reason of insanity, as she has pleaded, she will be sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Well, now we turn to global politics and the president's Asian tour. Mr. Bush wraps up his trip to Japan in the coming hours, after addressing the country's parliament. Among the highlights of Mr. Bush's stay in Tokyo, a demonstration of 6th century horseback archery. And a firming of his relationship with prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, is traveling with Mr. Bush.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): One test of any alliance is how the leaders deal in public with issues that are known to divide them, or at least be the source of tension in their private discussions. Plenty of examples of that today, as Mr. Bush emerged from his first day of official business here in Asia. Meetings with the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

The president has been criticized around the world for using the term axis of evil to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea -- many European allies among those voicing skepticism. The phrase caused gained concern here in Japan and South Korea, because of course, North Korea is in the neighborhood. Many viewed the president's statement as too provocative, backing the North Korean leadership into a corner. But at their news conference today, the Japanese prime minister said he understood what the president meant.

JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The expression, "axis of evil," I believe reflects the firm resolve of President Bush and the United States against terrorism. President Bush, I believe, has been very calm and cautious vis-a-vis Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

KING: Mr. Bush returned the favor when the issue returned to the Japanese economy. It is no secret back in Washington, the administration would like the Japanese government to move much more quickly when it comes to implementing structural reforms, blamed for the Japanese economy being in and out of recession for most of the past decade.

But in public, Mr. Bush called the prime minister a bold reformer, and said he was not here to lecture.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not here to give advice. I'm here to lend support. And when he looked me in the eye and told me that he is going to take measures necessary to improve in all three regions, I believe him. I believe that's his intent.

KING: And the Japanese prime minister turned a bit testy at one point, when a U.S. reporter suggested that Washington must be frustrated by the slow pace of economic progress here. Mr. Koizumi said he was moving as quickly as he could, and that he was implementing some reforms that he was not getting credit for. He also made note of his recent decline in public opinion polls, saying that would not deter him from pressing ahead with the reforms he has promised.

John King, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And this footnote from Tokyo: the yen dipped a bit against the dollar in currency markets after Mr. Bush said he had discussed devaluation with the prime minister. White House officials quickly explained that Mr. Bush was not voicing support for a weaker yen, as some believed. They say the president simply misspoke, saying "devaluation" when he meant to say deflation.

As President Bush reaches out to allies overseas, how do Americans view U.S. friends and foes after the launch of the war on terrorism? Our Bill Schneider maps out public opinion.


SCHNEIDER: It's a whole new world. How new? This month's Gallup asked Americans to express their feelings, favorable or unfavorable, about 25 countries. There are some surprise. Who are the good guys? Two neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Two east Asian allies, Japan and Taiwan. And America's European allies, Britain, France, Germany and Russia.

Wait a minute, Russia? Yes, Russia. Two-thirds of Americans have a favorable opinion of Russia. Up 14 points in the past year. Up more than any other country.

Americans give five countries ratings in the 50s. Friendly, but their support the war on terrorism is not as certain. Three in Asia: India, the Philippines and South Korea. And two in the Middle East: Israel and Egypt. Egypt is down 11 points in the past year.

Who are the bad guys? Communist countries are still on that list: Vietnam, China and Cuba. Colombia actually comes out worse. Twenty-eight percent favorable -- that's the drug war.

Three Muslim countries get lower ratings than the communists: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Their governments are with us, but not necessarily the people. Saudi Arabia has taken a big fall, down 20 points in the past year. Down, more than any other country.

Whose on America's enemies list? Only one communist country, North Korea. President Bush put them on his "axis of evil." Some Muslim countries do even worse. Iran and Iraq also on the axis of evil, along with Libya and the Palestinian Authority.

To Americans, the new world of us versus them is defined by countries' positions on terrorism. The West, including Russia, is us. Muslim countries are them, with North Korea the only non-Muslim exception. It looks like Americans now see the world as a clash of civilizations.

In that clash of civilizations, east Asia, Japan, South Korea and China become the nonaligned world. It's not their fight. President Bush is in east Asia now because he wants those countries aligned with the West.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Back here in the U.S., Vice President Dick Cheney told Californians today that whatever threats are forming against the United States, the Bush administration will respond decisively. And he defended the president's axis of evil remark, as refreshing evidence that Mr. Bush means what he says.

Cheney spoke about defense policy and he paid tribute to the troops at Miramar Marine Corps Air station in San Diego. The vice president is kicking off four-day visit to California, that mixes policy speeches with some political fund-raising.

Also in California on this President's Day, Senator Joe Lieberman and House minority leader, Gephardt. They're the latest Democrats to turn up in the Golden State in recent days to test the waters for a 2004 presidential bid. Our Candy Crowley shares her notes on an L.A. weekend getaway for prospective candidates.


CROWLEY (voice-over): If you're a Democrat...

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm going to keep coming back with that kind of an opportunity to speak. Thank you.

CROWLEY: A Democrat thinking about running for president...

MONKEES (singing): I'm a believer...

CROWLEY: Then the place to go early, often, earnestly, is California.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We have 55 electoral votes, which is essentially 20 percent of what you need to be elected president.

CROWLEY: Not to mention that California is a kind of cash cow for Democrats, all of which makes it pretty much Mecca, or something close.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I have to tell you, my friends, California is the promised land for a Democrat.

CROWLEY: Gathered in Los Angeles for their annual meeting, California Democrats got a look at the early line for 2004.

In 1975 we had our off-year convention here in California. And in a hallway just like this, there was this fellow that walked up and down the hallways, and he stuck out his hand to everybody he could find and he said, "Hi, I'm Jimmy Carter."

CROWLEY: ... showed up in LA all said they were there for reasons other than a presidential bid. Whatever, here is how it went. Tom Daschle talked Enron, ANWR and abortion, but mostly seemed like a guy focused on keeping his day job. DASCHLE: One group with ties to Republicans ran an ad in my home state comparing me to Saddam Hussein. Well, they can call me whatever they want, as long as at the end of the day, they have to call me the majority leader of the United States Senate.

CROWLEY: His reception was the best, but as one party exec put it, he's really the only one they know.



KERRY: Yeah, I worked with Enterprise. Absolutely. The big E.

CROWLEY: Vietnam vet turned Vietnam protester, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, invoked the legacy of Bobby Kennedy. He talked up his California ties and got the most laughs.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: We've got Tom Daschle here, you've got John Edwards here, you've got Gray Davis here. Al Gore would have been here, folks, but to make sure Democrats are protected for '04, somebody had to be moved to an undisclosed, secure location.


CROWLEY (on camera): What do you think of Kerry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he was fine. I thought he was good.

CROWLEY (voice-over): North Carolina freshman Senator John Edwards starts from scratch. Of all those in the presidential pool, he is the least known and the greenest.

KERRY: Like many of you, I grew up in a little town in North Carolina. And the way I was raised, and the way I grew up -- not in North Carolina, in California for you...

CROWLEY: There is plenty of time to get it right. Even among party activists, it's a bit early to pay too much attention.

(on camera): The truth is, a lot of people here couldn't tell John Edwards from John Kerry even after both had spoken. And most see Tom Daschle as leader of the Senate Democrats, rather than a candidate for 2004. In fact, the clearest presidential vision here is hindsight. Said one party official, "The guy I really wish had shown up is Bill Clinton."

Candy Crowley, CNN, Los Angeles.


WOODRUFF: Well, he skipped the cattle call in California. But coming up next, civil rights activist Al Sharpton joins us to discuss the groundwork he is laying for a possible run for the White House. Also ahead, snatching victory out of the jaws of the other guy's defeat. Jeff Greenfield finds a parallel between the Olympics and politics.

And, remembering a broadcast news pioneer, Howard K. Smith. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, the Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who is considering a run for the White House, visited New Hampshire over the weekend. He had a lot to say about his political chances, and about the new antiterrorism laws supported by the Bush administration. The Reverend Sharpton joins us now from New York.

Reverend Sharpton, it was New Hampshire over the weekend. It's going to be Iowa next week. Does this mean you're officially running for president?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: No, it means I'm officially exploring it, and talking to people in some of the states that are traditionally the early primary states, getting a sense of them and really letting them get a sense of me. And more importantly, a sense of the issues that I think the National Democratic Party has to ultimately confront. I think in the last several general elections and semi-presidential primary seasons, we've seen a drift to the right by the party,

Many of those that are talking about running now have been part of that drift, or are continuing their drift. I think someone needs to really represent the interest of working class people that the party used to, and seems to have in some cases abandoned.

WOODRUFF: Give me an example, just one example, of a move to the right on the part of one of these probable Democratic contenders.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that if you look at the whole notion of the death penalty, if you look at the whole notion of welfare reform, these were clearly issues that the National Democratic Party have decided they wanted to move over and compete on the Republican side. Let's remember historically, that in the early '80s, when the Rainbow Coalition was a major force in the party, they formed the Democratic leadership council to confront that wing of the party, and in fact tried to move the party further to the right.

I think that now some of the children and the younger brothers and sisters of the Rainbow Coalition side of the party is saying that the results are that we have people that have gone from through these welfare-to-work programs. There is no work, unemployment is rising. We are seeing more and more people incarcerated. We're seeing more and more mistakes being made with the death penalty. It's time for that wing of the party to come back with a full force. And one of the ways to do that is to win the nomination for president.

WOODRUFF: Virtually every person elected president in modern political history, Reverend Sharpton, has held a major political office before they were elected: governor or senator, or member of the U.S. Congress. Doesn't this put you at enormous disadvantage, that you've not held a major elected office?

SHARPTON: Well, Dwight Eisenhower held office. In fact...

WOODRUFF: But he was the leader of U.S. forces in...

SHARPTON: But you said held political office. Certainly that is not a political office. And I would think that if you look at just your story from California, if you talk about me, who has been in the forefront of the civil rights struggle for the last 20 years, heading the national organization, certainly that gives me more experience than the freshman senator from one state that just got elected.

So I think that, again, how do we weigh public service? The other part to that is, I think that a lot of people that have held office have to take some of the blame for things that have happened. The gentlemen that I may face, if I choose to run, were all in office when things like Enron and other things happened. And I will argue, if I choose to run, that had I been in office, maybe those types of things would have faced an aggressive advocate that would have wanted to see regulations in place to avoid that.

So I'm not too sure about bragging about having been part of the problem is the way you want to campaign in 2004.

WOODRUFF: You ran for the United States Senate two times. You ran for mayor of New York City one time. On all these occasions, Reverend Sharpton, you won a large percentage of the black vote, presumably a smaller, considerably smaller percentage of the white vote. What do you think the possibilities are for you to get a much larger percentage of the white vote than what you have gotten before now?

SHARPTON: First of all, when I ran for mayor of New York, 25 percent of my vote was white. I just spent, as you said, a day and a half, two days in New Hampshire. Ninety-five percent of the people I spoke with were white. I don't think that people are as race-based as they once were. I ran for U.S. Senate 10 years ago. I think people are really saying that they want to hear people that will stand for issues, that will stand for them, and have a track record of doing it.

I've spent a lot of time in Houston recently. We put together a legal team, a national network around Enron employees -- many of them white. Because somebody has to stand up to the deregulation of big business. Someone has to stand up to rising unemployment. So I think that you will be surprised at the significant numbers of people from all races that will stand up if a Democrat stands up in the tradition of a Roosevelt, and in the tradition of Adam Powell, and represent working class people, which the Democratic Party originally did.

WOODRUFF: You said in New Hampshire that President Bush's response to September 11th violates or infringes on civil liberties, civil rights. What are you talking about here? Is it primarily profiling that you're being critical of? SHARPTON: No, what I said was the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bill and the antiterrorism bill -- which unfortunately, some Democrats voted for, by the way -- when you have bills, let's say, that the attorney general should have the discretion to listen and eavesdrop on lawyer- client conversations -- solely his discretion, no check and balances -- that's an infringement on everyone's civil rights, everyone's civil liberties. That he has the right to detain people that are not charged. That is against due process of law.

We cannot take America and make it less than the principles that it was founded on, and say that we are doing that in an emergency situation. In an emergency situation, we ought to show that we're going to uphold the principles the country is supposed to advocate. Not give the terrorists a victory by becoming less than a land that pursues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

WOODRUFF: All right. Reverend Sharpton, we are going to have to leave it there. But we appreciate your stopping by, and we'll be watching you in Iowa next week.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, we will take a look at the top news stories of the day, including the latest on the gruesome discoveries at a crematory in Georgia.


WOODRUFF: Checking the stories in the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," a Texas mother accused of killing her children gets her day in court. Andrea Yates' capital murder trial got under way this morning in Houston. Yates is accused of drowning her five children in a bathtub. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The search goes on for more bodies at a Georgia crematory. The man who runs the business faces more than a dozen new criminal charges. At least 130 bodies have been found at the site. The bodies were supposed to have been cremated.

President Bush is on the first leg of his Asian trip. In a meeting with Japan's prime minister in Tokyo, Mr. Bush praised Japan's support in the war on terrorism. The two men also talked about economic and environmental issues. After Tokyo, Mr. Bush will visit Seoul and Beijing.

John W. Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, is being remembered today for his advocacy of citizens' participation in the Democratic process. The former secretary of health, education and welfare under President Johnson died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer. He also was known for promoting campaign finance reform after the Watergate scandal. John W. Gardner was 89 years old.

A longtime news anchor and analyst, one of the legendary "Murrow's Boys," has also died. Howard K. Smith was 87 years old. His son says he died Friday evening of pneumonia, the result of congestive heart disease. Our Bruce Morton looks back at Smith's career and the mark he made on our industry.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was born in Louisiana, started as a reporter for United Press in Europe, joined CBS as one of Ed Murrow's team in World War II. He replaced Murrow in London, then came back to the U.S. and covered the big stories, moderated the first Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960.

HOWARD K. SMITH, FMR. NEWS ANCHOR: And now for the first opening statement by Senator John F. Kennedy.

MORTON: In 1961, Smith did a documentary about the civil rights movement that included a quote from Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." CBS pulled it -- too editorial, said CBS chief William Paley. Smith, who believed in opinions on TV, quit and went to ABC, sometimes as an anchor -- here he's with Harry Reasoner during a Jimmy Carter-Gerald Ford debate -- but mainly as a commentator. Here, defending federal help for New York City in the '70s.

SMITH: Perhaps half the well-off citizens of this country may be descendants of the huddled poor New York saved and sent on their way.

MORTON: The commentaries were short -- a minute and a half or so -- but Smith said once, "I think of Shakespeare. He wrote sonnets of 14 lines. I guess I get about a sonnet and a half." He wrote some fine ones.

SMITH: This is Howard K. Smith. Good night from Chicago.



WOODRUFF: Joining us now with some "Inside Buzz," our Bob Novak. All right, Bob, I understand that conservatives are still upset with Secretary Powell and what he said in that MTV interview?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Yeah. Not just because he said sexually active young people should use condoms. I think a lot of people agree to that. But he didn't mention abstinence. Now, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in that program on MTV, I didn't mention it when he was interviewed on Sunday, but what bothers conservatives, Judy, is that Colin Powell's wife, Alma, is on the National Council of Best Friends. That's the organization which, started by Elaine Bennett, the wife of conservative Bill Bennett for, really, to promote abstinence. And Colin Powell and his wife, Alma, go the Best Friends dinners. He must have had a mental lapse, when he forgot about it.

WOODRUFF: So it's one thing to mention it on Sunday, but not before the international audience.

NOVAK: Right. WOODRUFF: Congressional action on the broad band bill.

NOVAK: The broad band bill is the Super Bowl of lobbying on the Hill. It involves who is going to have control over cable and over television. And it's a huge fight involving the Baby Bells vs. AT&T. And some of the people we work for are involved on it. Everybody is lobbying like the dickens. So it's all bipartisan.

Now, they tried to hold up consideration of the broadband bill so they could get more money in for lobbying and for campaign contributions. See, they still got a year to go. But the smell of that, they wanted to hold it up at least until the big Republican dinner in May. But the smell of that got so bad they could not hold on. It will come up earlier, February 27, in the House of Representatives.

WOODRUFF: All right, we'll put it on our calendar.

The Teamsters going after John Kerry -- what is that all about?

NOVAK: Over ANWR, the drilling for oil and Alaska. He says he will filibuster. That is a big item for the Teamsters. And John Kerry, who is running for president, may find this is not very good for him. The Teamsters ran ads last week in newspapers in Florida saying that John Kerry wants to drill off the Gulf of Mexico and not drill in Alaska, defying the wishes of the people of Alaska and Florida -- very nasty ads.

And this week, they are going to have radio ads, guess where, in Iowa, the start of the presidential caucuses. I think John Kerry will find he has taken on a formidable foe in the Teamsters.

WOODRUFF: All right, finally, Republicans starting to be worried about the Arkansas Senate race.

NOVAK: Yes, I've been checking about it. We've been talking about endangered senators on the Democratic side. The most endangered Republican Senator is Tim Hutchinson, just finishing his first term. He was very popular when he was elected six years ago. He had been a House member. But he has lost a lot of his conservative base, according to my sources, not because of any votes, but because he got divorced and married an aide, a female aide he had.

And that is really hurting him. Right now, he is running behind the attorney general, Pryor, who is the son of former Senator Pryor. We all remember him. And young Pryor is not a great candidate, but Hutchinson's problem is not Pryor. It's just some disaffection among the base conservatives in the state of Arkansas.

WOODRUFF: And you are saying it's personal rather than policy.

NOVAK: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, it's great to see you.

NOVAK: Thank you. WOODRUFF: We're not going to mention that basketball game over the weekend, are we?

NOVAK: Go, Terps.


WOODRUFF: Duke lost to Maryland, but things may be different in the future

Well, you may remember on Friday our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl, rode the Capitol Subway with Senator Christopher Dodd and asked him about a possible presidential run. Well, today, as part of his "Subway Series," we have more of Jonathan's interview with the Connecticut Democrat.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, Senator, welcome to the "Subway Series."

Obviously, you are a new father. How's this treating you?

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I call it exaggerated joy.

I'm not in my 20s or 30s or 40s. And I thought I was probably going to miss this experience. I really had sort of thought this was just one of life's great experiences that I wasn't going to get to have. And I wasn't happy about it, but I had sort of come to terms with it.

So, when Grace arrived, I've just been blown away.

KARL: On this election reform, which you're now managing on the floor, one of the things this would do is to pump a lot of money to the states to allow them to update their equipment.

In the current environment -- war, recession, deficits -- is there really the kind of money to throw around? What are you talking about, how much money?

DODD: What we're talking about in our bill, this House bill has about almost $3 billion. We're about $3.5 billion over four or five years.

The president, to his great credit -- he put $1.2 billion in his budget this year for election reform. That's less, obviously, than the House or the Senate. But I find that to be a significant commitment.

KARL: But can you justify spending $3 billion or $4 billion in the current situation?

DODD: It's a lot of money. Obviously, I don't think it's -- but it's a context of 50 states with an election system that is so bad. I know that 9/11 and other events have caused people's memories to fade probably, but it was 14 months ago that the world, not just the country, was absolutely riveted on Florida, in disbelief that, in the United States of America, an election process could be so broken that we could not find out who the president of United States was for a month and a half.

KARL: So, where are we going with Enron? You have heard Senator Hollings say that this Bush administration is a cash-and-carry government. He went down, he listed all the contacts that the Bush administration has with Enron, all the ties.

DODD: Fritz Hollings is colorful. And he has a way of expressing himself here that certainly attracts attention. But it probably was a little bit over the top. But it certainly got people's attention. But I don't want to see it turn into that. It need not. There are clearly some things we need to do. And we're not going to get them done if this is a hugely partisan battle.

KARL: Now, on politics, talk that Tom Daschle may run for president. If he were to run for president, would you run again to be majority leader, Democratic leader in the Senate?

DODD: I have not been asked this before, Jonathan. I don't think so, no. I mean...

KARL: You only lost by one vote.

DODD: Oh, I know. I like to tease Tom about that, too. And the vote that was cast by absentee ballot that day was Ben Nighthorse Campbell. And, of course, several week later, Ben switched parties and became a Republican. So I wrote Tom a note...

KARL: So you could have your own recount.

DODD: Well, I wrote Tom a note. And I had written on it, I said, "Tom in light of Ben's decision, do you think a recount may be in order?" Of course, Tom has done a great, great job, first of all. He has been a terrific leader.

KARL: Well, would you run for president? Your name keeps coming up on these lists of Democrats that might run for president. Will you run?

DODD: Well, you know, I have certainly thought about it. And I have considered it. But I have not done anything much more than that at this point. I have got a new baby, a new family.

KARL: But you don't rule it out.


DODD: I don't rule it out at this point. I would have to look at it over the next number of weeks. And I am going to do it. I am thinking about it. And that is the first time I have ever done that. And we'll see what happens over the next few weeks.

KARL: Well, on that note, I thank you very much for taking a ride on the subway.

DODD: Thank you. I enjoyed it, Jon. It was great.


WOODRUFF: Coming up next: What is a Bradbury? Jeff Greenfield tells us.


WOODRUFF: Checking our "Campaign News Daily": A Florida Democrat known for her role in the 2000 presidential recount announced today that she is running for Congress. Carol Roberts one of three Palm Beach County Canvassing Board members who struggled with butterfly ballots and hanging chads. Now she is hoping to unseat Republican Clay Shaw in Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich went Hollywood over the weekend and raised $40,000 for his campaign for Massachusetts governor. Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, and other celebrities paid $100 to $500 each to meet and greet Reich.

And it's a Miller win in Dallas. Laura Miller will be sworn in as that city's mayor on Wednesday after defeating fellow Democrat Tom Dunning in Saturday's runoff election. The former journalist got 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Dunning.

Well, if you've been watching the Winter Olympics in recent days, you have seen some exciting moments throughout the competition.

Well, our Jeff Greenfield says one bizarre finish in particular has its parallels in the political world.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: One of the neat things about the Olympics is that hundreds of millions of people can get passionately obsessed with an event they never heard of a week or so earlier, like, say, the men's 1000-meter short-track. In this case, of course, anyone within a half mile or so of a TV has seen that bizarre finish over and over again.


(voice-over): Four guys, including American hopeful Apolo Ohno, crash into each other. It looks like one of those roller derby jams from TVs. And Australian Steve Bradbury, who only made the finals because the three guys in front of him crashed into each other during the semis, sails across finish line and gets the gold medal.

Now, why am I telling you about this on INSIDE POLITICS? Because every once in a while in politics, the same kind of things happen. The folks at the front of the pack crash and fall, leaving a political dark horse to sweep across the finish line.

Look at the 1988 Democratic primary battle. Gary Hart was the odds-on favorite, but a sex scandal took him off the track a year before the race even began. Then Senator Joe Biden got tangled up in a plagiarism flap and he left the field. And Al Gore's Southern strategy failed. And Paul Simon and Bruce Babbitt fell early.


REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), MISSOURI: I think we're going to do well here.


GREENFIELD: And when Representative Dick Gephardt ran out of money, Governor Michael Dukakis and Reverend Jesse Jackson were the only ones left standing.

Or look back at the last California governor's race. In 1998, Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harmon and businessman Al Checchi, both independently wealthy, spent millions of dollars beating each other up in the Democratic primary. When the smoke cleared...


LT. GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Experience, money can't buy.


GREENFIELD: ... Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis, who had been last in the polls, glided to victory in the primary and in November.


GREENFIELD: So thanks to our biannual Olympics fix, we now have a dandy candidate for a brand new political catch phrase. The next candidate for office who wins because everybody else wipes out before the votes are counted will from now on be known as a Bradbury. Remember, you heard it here first -- and probably last -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jeff, you realize how many candidates this gives great hope to in the next election and the ones after that?


GREENFIELD: Oh, absolutely. They don't have to say, "Remember Harry Truman" now. They can say, "Remember Bradbury."


WOODRUFF: OK. All right, Jeff Greenfield, thanks. We'll see you tomorrow.

President Bush is the latest U.S. president to occupy the Oval Office during wartime. So how does he stack up to past wartime presidents? We'll hear what two presidential historians have to say when we come back.


WOODRUFF: The men who have led the United States since the nation's founding are being honored today. It is Presidents Day. So, how does the latest occupant of the Oval Office, president George W. Bush, rate?

Well, joining us now with their thoughts are presidential historians Douglas Brinkley -- he's in New Orleans -- and Richard Norton Smith, who is in Kansas City.

Richard Norton Smith, to you first. How does this president, in your mind, rank against other wartime presidents?

RICHARD NORTON SMITH, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think, so far, he has ranked very, very well indeed, I think perhaps somewhat to the surprise of some -- quote -- "opinion leaders" in Washington and elsewhere.

You stop and think, really, that the ultimate test of presidential leadership is crisis management. That means war. It means economic depression. In the case of Franklin Roosevelt, for example, it meant both.

The great presidents, the presidents whom remember the most fondly and whom we look up to on Presidents Day -- the Lincolns, the Roosevelts -- you think of John F. Kennedy at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, I would argue, so far, certainly George W. Bush, not only for beating expectations, but for the leadership, the consistent leadership he has demonstrated in marshaling what really has been a textbook military campaign and educating and rallying the domestic audience for something that we've never been through before.

WOODRUFF: Doug Brinkley, are the same criteria used, do you believe, in judging a president fighting a war on terror -- we've never had anything to compare with this before -- with fighting a war against Germany and Japan or Vietnam?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think we have to be careful of bogus analogies.

Franklin Roosevelt stands very large in being able to take America's Navy from being, really, one of the shattered small navies of the world and building it into this great armada, creating industrial mobilization, winning a two-front real war with real soldiers dying every day. There is nothing like Franklin Roosevelt's wartime leadership in recent memory. I would hate to equate George W. Bush with that.

I think that the person I would compare Bush to today is Harry Truman, at least the early Harry Truman, in the sense that Truman came in with low expectations. He was considered the haberdasher from Missouri. As vice president for FDR, people didn't even keep him filled in on the atomic bomb projects.

And yet Truman was able to lead a crusade against international communism. And I think Bush had low expectations. He is coming on strong, and has come on strong, and is leading us against international terrorism. And both of them realize it wasn't just going to be their administration, but they were going to have to educate the public to both keep paying for a larger defense budget and intelligence budget -- Truman created the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Department Air Force, just as Bush is creating the Office of Homeland Security and other organizations and entities to help fight this war on terrorism.

So I think there is a closer analogy to those two.

WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about -- CNN and "TIME" magazine did a poll in December in which respondents were asked whether they would rate President Bush as one of the greatest, a good but not great president, an average, or a poor president. And unlike his approval rating, which is way up in the stratosphere, 80-plus percent, it was 15 percent said one of greatest, 40 percent good, 35 percent average.

Richard Norton Smith, is this sort of saying that Americans are reluctant to make that judgment about a president until they have spent more time in office?

SMITH: I think there is something to that, Judy. We're also reluctant to put anyone up on Mount Rushmore before his time.

But, you know, first of all, I suspect those numbers would have been considerably lower than that before September 11. And something else that has struck me about the polling, remember, in the last couple years of the Clinton presidency, it became necessary for pollsters to ask two questions: job performance and what you think of the president personally.

Since September 11 in particular, if anything, instead of asking a variety of questions, the American people have narrowed the criteria by which they judge a president's success. You can go out and poll and find people are not happy with energy policy, environmental policy, maybe the economy. And yet you still have those 80 percent rates.

Why? Because I think most people, at least for now, and for the duration of this emergency, have decided that a president is judged on his ability to conduct a successful war against terrorism overseas and to prevent a repetition of September 11 here at home.

WOODRUFF: And, Doug Brinkley, is it safe to say that that is how other presidents in wartime have been judged: that people were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it was non-war issues?

BRINKLEY: I am not sure that that holds true historically, if you look at it this way.

Madison was president during the War of 1812 and had to flee the White House and was unpopular. Lincoln was a divided president. Half the nation could not stand him. And he had to try to keep it together. You had Polk in the Mexico War serving only one term. And you quite a divided nation. Woodrow Wilson, after he finally left, led into three Republican presidents in a row after Wilson, who was a Democrat, Hoover and Coolidge and Harding.

And, of course, Truman, who I mentioned, when the Korean War went going, he didn't even run in 1952 as a wartime president, because they knew he would lose. And he didn't run. Lyndon Johnson got decimated by the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon was hurt terribly by Cambodia. And even George Bush Sr., of course, overseeing the Gulf War, ended up, due to the economy and seeming not to have gotten to Saddam Hussein, seemed less of a heroic president than he did right at the time of the Gulf War.

So I think we can be very critical of presidents if things turn a little sour during wartime.

WOODRUFF: Well, gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. Douglas Brinkley joining us from New Orleans, Richard Norton Smith is in Kansas -- we thank you both for being with us on this Presidents Day.

SMITH: Thank you.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, as Americans mark Presidents Day, a new exhibit on the men who have served in the Oval Office is opening in Chicago. It includes some fascinating artifacts, all the way back to the nation's first president, George Washington.

CNN's Jeff Flock gives us a closer look.


JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Lincoln's blood.

LONNIE BUNCH, CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Yes, it is, when Lincoln's head rested on this sheet on the pillow, and you can see the remnants of his blood.

FLOCK (voice-over): The sheets Lincoln bled to death on after he was shot, the microphone FDR used for his first fireside chat, the overcoat Grover Cleveland wore to his first inauguration, the field telescope George Washington used in the Revolutionary War.

BUNCH: In some ways, these objects really make you see the presidents as what they are: average men. You know what? Let's not look at them as godlike figures, but let's look at them as men who rose to the occasion at times of extraordinary crisis or decision or leadership.

FLOCK: Like World War I: This is the pen Woodrow Wilson used to sign the declaration of war, the inkwell Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation, the headphones the House Judiciary Committee used to listen to Nixon's Watergate tapes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you like Nixon, you see there is a nice photo of Nixon. If you don't like Nixon, you can see the smile that sort of stops right about here.

FLOCK: Politics and presidency without the spin: nearly 400 pieces in the traveling exhibit, though some of the most compelling, like the cloak Mary Todd Lincoln wore to Ford's Theater, come from the Chicago Historical Society's own rarely-shown collection, which also includes the bed Lincoln died on, as well as the pillow and sheet. It is all a reminder of how history somehow fits together: passes to Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial, the gavel from Clinton's. And there is a voting machine last used in the 1984 Reagan/Mondale race. Look closely at line 41 and you'll see a hanging chad.


WOODRUFF: All the kinds of presidential mementos. Jeff Flock reporting from Chicago.

Just ahead: From Paris to Marseille and everywhere in between, yesterday was a day to remember for shoppers across France.

Stay with us.


WOODRUFF: It's been about eight weeks since the euro became the coin of the realm in much of Europe. By most accounts, the transition has been smooth. Even in France, the beloved franc is history.

Here now is CNN's Jim Bittermann.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a Sunday market in Normandy, the French were spending euros with abandon. In fact, even though it was the last day to spend French francs, there were barely any to be found.

The butcher said he had not seen a franc in days. And the baker said she had just one customer who bought a loaf of bread with a 200 franc bill who will be happy not to be making change in two currencies she says.

In fact, while you could still find a vegetable salesman calling out the prices in francs, according to the French Central Bank, by last week more than 70 percent of French francs were already out of the monetary system.

And if now you can no longer spend French francs, you can still turn them in at the Central Bank for another 10 years. Unless you find a nice candy lady like this one who said she would still accept francs from children for another few days.

Even if the French have adopted the euro, at least two out of five, according to a poll released over the weekend, are nostalgic for their old money.

(on camera): After more than 640 years of slipping through their fingers and into their pockets, it's probably not at all surprising that the French have grown a little attached the their francs. At least that's what the hope is here in the small town of Francville St. Pierre (ph). (voice-over): The energetic mayor here just got the good news that Francville has been selected for the site of a monument and museum dedicated to the franc. Now all he has to do is raise 2.3 million euros to transform this site and others and his town will become a tourist magnet for those who miss their old money.

In fact, exactly how one should observe the passage from one currency to another, something which rarely happens willingly, must have taxed minds at the French Finance Ministry as they created a ceremony marking the occasion. The prime minister set the tone.

LIONEL JOSPIN, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The French people went to the euro saying to themselves, "We are not losing a money, but getting one."

BITTERMANN: And with that, brief fireworks and the European anthem, franc flags at the Ministry were lowered into oblivion while the euro banners waved on. After which, this being France, everyone retired for a congratulatory glass of champagne. And by the way, if you needed further proof the franc is well and truly finished, on leaving, each guest of the ceremony was given a half million francs to take home, well shredded and compressed to be sure.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


WOODRUFF: It's still hard to imagine France without the franc.

Well, conventional wisdom has it that if you confess to a problem quickly and fully, you can ease the political fallout. So, we at INSIDE POLITICS want to come clean about our Sununu problem. Now, we know that this is New Hampshire Congressman John E. Sununu. We really do. And next time we report on him, we promise to show this picture, not a photo of his father, the former governor and White House chief of staff, as we did last week. Our apologies. It will never happen again.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.




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